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FESTIVE: Winter Wonderlights Steam Train, Loughborough, 29 Nov – 30 Dec

For the very first time the vintage vestibule has been specially decorated to the tee in fantastic lights and transformed into a moving spectacle of light which will illuminate the surrounding countryside as you enjoy it in the warmth of your carriage. Tickets cost £19 for adults and £12 for kids.

Great Central Railway  

FESTIVE: Victorian Christmas Fayre, Melton Mowbray, 29 Nov – 1 Dec

The fabulous Victorian Christmas Street Market will showcase the talent of local food producers, artisan crafts people and creative street food vendors, a full programme of street entertainment, on-stage performances, the much anticipated Christmas Tree, Wreath and Nativity Crib festivals in local churches. The market takes place around the town centre over the course of the weekend and incorporates the Christmas lights switch-on and fireworks display (Fri 6:45pm).

Victorian Christmas Fayre

FILM: Hansel and Gretel, various cinemas, 30 Nov – 1 Dec

Extra sweet with exclusive content for cinema screenings, the Hansel and Gretel will include familiar faces and new characters like Waffle the Wonder Dog – as Hansel and Gretel try to find their way again in the dark wood and meet a host of magical creatures on the way in their winter adventure. Showing at various cinemas across the city and county. Find your nearest screening online here.

MUSIC: Emeli Sandé, De Montfort Hall, Leicester, 30 Nov

Made an MBE in 2018 for her contribution to music, Emeli Sandé has dominated the music industry, sold a jaw dropping 19 million singles including three number one UK singles and even beat a Beatles record. Prepare to be mesmerized by this musical force of nature. Tickets start at £36.50.

De Montfort Hall

SHOPPING: Artisan Winter Fair, Loughborough, 30 Nov

Fancy yourself as a hardcore foodie? Then this winter fair is the one for you with a range of handpicked stalls chosen for bringing the very finest in locally produced, sourced and crafted products from the Midlands. Be inspired, meet other foodies and, crucially, sample the culinary delights on display. From 10am-4pm. Free event.

Loughborough Artisan Winter Fair

CRAFTS:  Katherine Fortnum Ceramics Open Studio, Market Harbs, 30 Nov – 1 Dec

Explore the open studio and start your Christmas shopping! Browse beautifully made creations and enjoy some festive treats as you find a truly unique gift. Katherine Fortnum’s Ceramics Studio can be found on Knoll Street, Market Harborough. Open from 10-4pm.

Katherine Fortnum Ceramics

SHOP: Etsy Made Local Christmas Fair, Leics, 30 Nov – 1 Dec

Bringing together 20 amazing makers, designers and illustrators specially selected to create the perfect, intimate, Christmas shopping weekend experience in the city centre. Expect to see the likes of RARE FOLK, Eve and Fox, Pippa Jayne, Hannah Mills and more – get there early to score a free goodie bag! Bonus!

Etsy Made Local

FESTIVE: Food Gusto Christmas Fair, Ashby, 30 Nov – 1 Dec

You’ll struggle not to treat yourself with something yummy as you make your way around this food-centred Christmas market! There’s nothing to feel guilty about though, as you’ll still find plenty to fill your friends and families’ Christmas stockings from the plethora of options available from local and regional producers and artisans. Sat 10:30am – 5pm, Sun 10.30am- 4.30pm, entry is free.

Food Gusto Christmas Fair

FESTIVE: Winter Wonderland, Tropical Birdland, 30 Nov

Perhaps not the most obvious setting for festive celebrations but apparently even parrots can’t resist the Christmas spirit. Set amongst 6.5 acres of English countryside, has been transformed into a winter wonderland complete with a Snow Queen, brass bands, mascots, stalls and more. From 4-8pm and there is a £2 admission charge; visits to see the Snow Queen can be pre-booked online.

Tropical Birdland

FESTIVE: Rutland Fairtrade Christmas Market, Oakham Castle, 30 Nov

A Christmas market with a guaranteed feel-good factor: whatever gems you find amongst stalls and stalls selling decorations, food, clothes, jewellery, toys, gifts and crafts – each one has been ethically traded and sourced. And let’s not forget the Fairtrade refreshments from their own range – no chocolate tastes better than Fairtrade chocolate. Yes please, Santa. 10am – 3pm.

Oakham Castle

FESTIVE: Christmas Fayre, Twycross Zoo, 30 Nov – 1 Dec

Surprise the kids with a visit to Santa Claus at Twycross Zoo where the Christmas fayre will feature gift stalls perfect for animal lovers and there will lots of yummy festive food to tuck into. From 10am-5pm.

Twycross Zoo

MUSIC: Brass Concert, Market Harborough, 30 Nov

Allow yourself to revel in the mesmerising sounds of an exciting brass band concert presented by the world-renowned Virtuosi GUS Band as they weave through a plethora of music from classic film tunes through to music from the proms. Tickets are £12.50 and the event starts at 7pm.

St Dionysius Church

DRINK: The Big Bang with Burleighs Gin, Oadby, 30 Nov

Spaceology, mixology and gin – Need I say more? Enjoy a seriously cool evening that begins in style with gin cocktails and canapés, before a gin masterclass by a Burleighs expert distiller and dinner. Get the chance to make your own liquid nitrogen ice cream and form a comet with dry ice! From 7pm, tickets cost £45.

Burleighs Gin

FESTIVE: Wigston Xmas Lights Switch on, 30 Nov

Gather in Wigston to enjoy a spectacular Switch On ceremony of the Xmas lights! Activities taking place between 5-8pm.

Wigston Xmas Lights

FOOD: Christmas Vegan Market, Leicester, 30 Nov

Enjoy vegan kebabs and dairy-free Spanish pastry to New Market Square this weekend – along with the UK’s only plant-powered hog roast. With tonnes of incredible local & national traders, expect music, food, drinks, organic products and great vegan vibes! From 10am – 5pm in New Market Square.

Christmas Vegan Market

FESTIVE: Clarendon Park Christmas Fair, Leicester, 1 Dec

Explore a slice of the countryside in the city on Queen’s Road, a beloved street that supports independent businesses and local entrepreneurs, and find some gems for the Christmas stockings. This is a favourite annual fair which attracts 50 unique stalls selling crafts, gifts, homemade food, live entertainment, fairground rides for the kids, and much more. 11am – 5pm.

Clarendon Park Christmas Fair

FOOD: Christmas Sunday Lunches, Beaumanor Hall, 1 Dec

Everyone knows Christmas is THE time for feasting and merriment – you need a decent capacity to enjoy it all so warm your gut up early with a delicious three-course carvery style Sunday Lunch, with a special Christmas twist, at the lush Beaumanor Hall and promise an early Christmas gift too! You’ll have to be quick though, these tickets get snapped up fast. On December 1, 8, 15, 22 between 12pm-3pm. Tickets are £28.95 per adult and £14.50 per child.

Beaumanor Hall

COMEDY: The Scummy Mummies Show, The Y Theatre, 1 Dec

Based on the hit podcast and best-selling book of the same name, comedians Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn celebrate the ‘scummier’ side of parenting – from drinking wine at teatime to hiding from the PTA. Parents will be sure to be able to commiserate and laugh together at this unmissable show. And if you’re not a parent, you’ll still be able to enjoy the show and, better yet, leave a little more smug about your life choices. The show starts at 8pm and tickets cost £17.

Leicester YMCA

FESTIVE: Museum Shop Sunday, National Space Centre, 1 Dec

Collaborating with local independent makers, the National Space Centre is hosting a festive market with a hands-on twist. Families can participate in ‘maker sessions’ – from creating their own foil prints to making solar system bracelets. Market stalls will feature Daisy D Crochet, Maybe Moor’s Steampunk and geek jewellery, Loughborough’s Ohh Deer stationary and more.

National Space Centre 

FESTIVE: Christmas Tree Switch On, Oakham, Dec 1

As promised, there are still plenty of festive lights switch ons in case you missed them last weekend. See Oakham’s own Christmas tree get switched on at 5pm – but get to the market place earlier to enjoy the buzz of crafts stalls and the Show Choir performance. From 2-5pm.

Oakham Lights Switch On

 Jack and the Beanstalk at Loughborough, 23 Nov – 5 Jan

The villagers are under threat from a ginormous giant and poor, young Jack has his head in the clouds, but when he sells his beloved cow, Pat for just a handful of beans he begins a huge adventure which takes him to dizzying new heights. The little ones will love this brilliant panto as it brings some beloved characters to life. Tickets from £14.

Loughborough Town Hall

West Side Story, Curve, Leicester 23 Nov – 11 Jan 2020

cast west side story curve

Inspired by Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Romeo and Juliet and with a timeless score including Tonight, America and I Feel Pretty, West Side Story is one of the greatest musicals of all time, filled with romance, charm, music, and heartbreak.

Curve, Leicester

Words: Farah Ghouri

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